The Long Haul Trucker is built, as you might expect, as a touring bike. But it does a lot of other stuff good too, like commuting, day trips, double centuries, and of course beer runs. We set it up with a triple crank, a reasonably wide-range rear gear cluster, and large-ish, comfy tires. Add racks and you’re ready to haul. We mean it. The frame is designed to be stable and supple fully loaded with gear. Other bikes, 'converted' touring bikes you might call them, simply don’t handle big loads as well. The Long Haul Trucker, like all our frames, is steel, because steel rides way better than aluminum or carbon fiber, and for less money. It’s got rack and fender mounts front and rear, three bottle mounts, even a spare spoke holder.
Strengths: It's a "lifetime" bike. If I could have only one bike, the LHT would be it. The paint is tough, and, frankly, with a full Ultegra lightweight build running Open Pro rims and GP4000 tyres, even with the SON 28 Klassic dynamo hub, it's not that slow - I often use it on weekend "fast" rides instead of my Giant TCR.
Weaknesses: The way I configure mine, I wish it had 132.5 rear frame spacing so I could drop in fast road wheels more easily. Cantilever brakes are 'ok' but then I don't really want disks! I now use Kool Stop Salmon pads on Ultegra cantilevers and they work pretty well. I wouldn't race in a peloton with it....but that's not what it's for.
I've had my LHT 60cm for a year now. I don't tour on it but I commute with a Topeak rack/bag setup, carry my 20kg 3yo, do hilly 120km Sunday rides, and take the odd off-road detour. I run a full Ultegra group set, compact 50/34 and a 12-30 on the rear so it helps me cope with the Sydney hills. The seat is a Fizik Antares which I put on to replace my brooks and (so far) I prefer it! The extra bottle holders help in the Sydney summer, and at 50 I do prefer the ability to have the bars level with the seat. Mostly I run 32mm Gatorskins, but when I want a bit of extra speed I just run light tyres on my open pro rims, replace the DX 647 pedals with SPD-SL items, and get into it. overall I think there's about 2-3kg weight penalty over my Ultegra equipped carbon TCR when it's set up light.
And those guys in fancy Lycra on their carbon bikes really don't like being passed uphill by an LHT with a bag on the rack!
The standard build might be slow, but mine only gives up a small amount in speed.
In winter I use fenders, and next winter will run some 165mm cranks as I have caught the front fender with my foot a few times and knocked the flap off while using 175mm cranks.
So if you want a Surly LHT but think it's too slow, buy a frameset, have some good light wheels on hand, and build it with a lightweight group set.
Similar Products Used: Many many bikes. All but one being real steel.
Bike Setup: Ultegra, open pro, SON 28 Klassic hub and Edelux II headlight, Fizik Antares saddle, DX 647 pedals, drop bars, compact crankset
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: November 25, 2013
Strengths: looooonnnng chainring. Its like driving a cadillac. very smooth ride and handles well. Easy to ride and comfortable. Nice steel shock absorbing frame; WIde tires allow for some offroad experiences.
Weaknesses: BRAKES; Bar End Shifters, 26 inch wheels
So, I got the LHT without knowing much about it but needing a commuter slash touring rig. I went with the 26er, which in retrospect may have been a mistake. No matter what anyone says, it will never be as fast as a 700c. But its fine and I liked the idea of more tire options as we often ride in very remote areas of foreign countries. I also commute to and from work five days a week. Overall, it is a solid well built machine. The long chain ring makes fro very smooth ride and it manuvers very well. you can jump curbs if you like and the steel frame is comforting. It is an average climber for what it is. Folks whine that it is heavy? of course it is heavy. and it climbs like it is. But there again, its fine. The BIGGEST dissapointment of this bike is the BRAKES! they SUCK. I me SUCK. Immediately remove the stock pads and replace with the best pads you can find. Even then you will wish you went with the disk trucker. TRUST ME ON THIS ONE. I am not looking forward to going down steep switchbacks fully loaded on this bike with the brakes it came with, even with new pads. So, learn from my mistakes; get a disk trucker with 700c wheels and you will have the best of all worlds.
Similar Products Used: lots and lots of different bikes;
60 year old Road Rash
Date Reviewed: March 18, 2013
Strengths: The Surly must be fully loaded to enjoy. My model is 2011 and fitted with Salsa racks in the front, standard rack in the rear. The inaugural tour was just under 1000 miles and 70 mile days common.
Weaknesses: Replace the seat with a Brooks and, after break-in, you are set to go. The bar end shifters become intuitive after a few days on the road.
The Surly is made to tour. When going out for group rides, use another bike!
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: August 13, 2012
Strengths: Just upgraded to a 2012 LHT after riding the Erie Canalway from Buffalo to Albany with my old clunker. I enjoy touring and will typically carry 50 pounds of gear. Took it for a break-in ride today. This bike fits well. It's comfortable, even with the factory seat and pedals. I had it fitted and set up by a knowledgable dealer. I'm 6'4" tall and 220 pounds. The frame is solid and handles rough surfaces well. Some people don't like the bar-end shifters, but I think that they are easy to learn to use. Shifting is flawless and becomes intuitive. I was using straight bars with extensions on my old bike. The geometry of drop bars on the LHT offers more ride positions and I feel my endurance and power improved as a result. I don't miss my bar extensions. The gearing is for touring and offers great range for hills with a fully loaded bike. BTW, the MSRP is out of date, but at the current price it's still well worth it.
Weaknesses: The LHT has few weaknesses, if any. I think that you need to do some research and test ride before you buy a bike. Bikes are all different and you need to find one that satisfies all of your personal preferences. For me, the LHT is the perfect bike.
For the price point, this is a quality machine. If you tour and carry a lot of gear, this is a great bike.
Bike Setup: Stock with Tubus Logo rear pannier rack, SKS fenders, and Topeak handlebar bag
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: August 24, 2011
Strengths: Stable, durable, utilitarian, and comfortable. If you're looking for a bike built for touring, I wouldn't hesitate to tell you to get out and pick one up. This bike has been wonderful on countless all-day rides. If you can only afford one bike, this bike works great as a commuter bike as well.
Weaknesses: If you pick up a complete LHT, the saddle will need to be replaced if you're going to do any touring. Also, the bar-end shifters can be awkward if you ever find yourself riding out of the saddle on a hill or in a sprint. This is typically only an issue while using the bike as a commuter as it's rare you'll find yourself in a sprint on a fully loaded bike.
The Long Haul Trucker is a great steel frame bike built specifically for bicycle touring. With a lower bottom bracket and long chain stay, the bike is made to stay stable with the extra weight of touring and give you a little extra clearance between your heal and rear panniers. The LHT also has a ton of braze-ons for racks and fenders, extra spokes stashed on the frame in case you break some, and room for wider tires (“fatties fit fine”) for a cushier ride. It seems this bike is becoming more and more popular which is a great testament to its quality and durability. This bike does what it was designed to do very well!